2016 02 - Portfolio Competition

20th February 2016
Retford & District Photographic Society - Press Release - Joy Allison
16th February 2016

Images by Geoff Stoddart, Pat Oaks, Elizabeth Tilstone, Jayne Mair, Des Lloyd, Barry Inman, Ian Telfer and Alan Dibbo.

Portfolio Competition

Over the course of the season, members have accumulated a body of new work, some of which has been tested in competition. The portfolio competition comes towards the end of the season and is an opportunity for the members to present examples of their work across a number of different genres to demonstrate their versatility as photographers.

Tonight was the print competition and thirteen members each submitted five of their colour images for scrutiny by our judge Steve Myall from Melton Mowbray. Unlike the panel of three competition where the images must be cohesive and work together, the five images each stand alone, each illustrating an aspect of the photographer's skill.

Steve commented that members had for the most part presented their work in a pleasing manner, often close to that which would be demanded of a panel, and certainly giving thought to the positioning of the individual images within the set.

Steve was a conscientious and thoughtful judge and took his time to carefully consider each image. As with all judges he had views on alternative viewpoints which might have given a better result, but was realistic enough to accept that there may have been a cliff just where he would like the photographer to stand.
It is clear that the overall standard in the club is improving as the issues which predominated in previous years such as lack of sharpness or wrong choice of f-stop have this year been replaced with compliments on the good choices made and the skills demonstrated. On the subject of sharpness, Steve asked from how far away an image should be judged. It is easy to get extremely close and spot the tiniest softness, but he felt this was not necessarily realistic.

Over the season different judges raise ideas which may be new or thought provoking and Steve was no different. He felt the eyes in one image were too white to be natural then wondered if a flower was a garden plant (inadmissible as nature) or a wild one, which counts as nature, and hence, under our rules, a different genre. The subject of a portrait wore a watch which was quite bright in the image. Steve advised that unless the purpose of the image is to display the jewellery it is preferable to remove it as it can be a distraction. Another interesting comment was that in some competitions black backgrounds behind flowers are not acceptable. These are all points which members can bear in mind when creating future images.

A further seven members also submitted sets of five monochrome images. Steve was very impressed with the majority of them, expressing a liking for high contrast in such images. It was interesting to see how different the images looked mounted in different colours and how different colours of mount within the sets distracted from the impact of the whole.
At the end of the judging the results were:
Geoff Stoddart 20
Pat Oaks 19
Elizabeth Tilstone 18
Jayne Mair 18

Des Lloyd 20
Geoff Stoddart 19
Jayne Mair 18

Following the judging of the portfolios the enprint competition was judged. This was originally intended to give newcomers a chance to enter a collection of 6”x4” images mounted as a single unit and with a theme or to tell a story. It was clear this year that the collections which had been submitted were quality in terms of the images, the mounting and the presentation.

Steve suggested he might get the audience to vote to help him with the dilemma of how to decide between them, but he bit the bullet and gave his scores. There were just five entries but they covered vastly different subjects - wildlife, Appleby Horse Fair, a tram ride round Lisbon, an air show and English country houses. Each subject had its challenges and each collection had more good points than bad, but eventually the cohesive tones and quality of the images of the Horse Fair set saw it win with the wildlife images a close second, let down by the slight softness of the central image - the only fault to be found with four stunning images surrounding it.
The results were:
Barry Inman 20
Des Lloyd 19
Ian Telfer 18
Alan Dibbo 18

At our next meeting we have something which, while apparently very different, has many parallels with the sporting presentations we heard in the early season. Fredric Frennessen, himself a former champion competitive ballroom dancer with his wife Vicki, will be bringing his talk ‘From Ballroom to Lightroom’. Fredric and Vicki run a dance school in the south of England but Fredric has taken up photography seriously in the last few years and his photos taken on the floor of the big dance events are now a regular presence in the national dance press.